Friday, December 31, 2010

A Peculiar Constitutional

This is a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.



            My wife and I often take a constitutional with our feline companion, Chester, most evenings after I arrive home from work.  This particular evening in question, I was intrigued by an invitation my wife received from our mutual friend, Miss Harriet P. Stander. Miss Stander had requested our presence this evening for a rendezvous on her front porch for beverages in order that we might behold a marvel in her possession that she assured us simply couldn't be described in words. 
            The sojourn to Miss Stander's house was perhaps a mile on foot and as Chester, my wife, and I walked, we had a lovely conversation abut assorted things of various natures.
            My wife marveled at the weather and the sorts of flowers in bloom.  I myself pondered aloud about the status of politics and the upcoming election.  Chester, meanwhile, offered us a fascinating epiphany he'd had regarding the meaningless of life and the ever-expanding nature of the universe and cosmos.  It was all a bit over my head, but the sciences had never been my strongest suit.
            Chester was a devilishly intelligent cat that often confounded me with the depth of his learned philosophy. 
It was no wonder I enjoyed his company.
My wife enjoyed him for altogether different reasons.  She was barren, you see, and Chester tolerated quite admirably her predilection to groom and pamper a child-sized creature of intelligence.  It was her life's goal it seemed to always make sure that at all times Chester had tied snugly around his neck an ornately ribboned bowtie.
Were I a jealous man, I might be upset about the time spent gossiping between the pair while my wife manicured his hands and pedicured his feet. But he was a cat and such notions were absolute poppycock.  He was a handsome cat, to be sure, but still just a cat.

The complete version is available in my collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hatchet

This is a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

            It had been a full night and most of a day since we'd been trapped in the basement of my mother's house.  There was one door leading up and out and bars over windows to small to escape from.
            We had to barricade our one escape route to keep my mother and sister out.
            "I don't know long we'll be able to stay here."  Leave it to my little brother to state the obvious.
            "I know.  But what else can we do?"
            "I don't know."
            I shouldn't have come here.  He called me and asked me to come check on our mother and sister.  They'd come home from a shipping trip with a fever that put them both down in bed with a vengeance.
            "They're not responsive.  I know you're busy, but I want to know if you think I should take them to a doctor."
            Without observing them firsthand I could tell they needed to see a doctor, but I think my little brother needed me more than they did.  I could hear it in his voice.  It was long after I came over that everything went to hell.  Whatever infection they'd contracted gave them a bloodlust that made them kill our middle brother and forced us to take refuge in the basement with our five-year-old sister. 
            And for the last twelve hours we'd been left through a sleepless night, trying to come up with a plan in an unfinished basement with a constant banging and rattling on the door.  We knew the gurgling and screaming was what was left of our loved ones, but that only made it that much more unsettling. 
            What had happened had gone down so fast that I'm not even clear about what did happen.  I know if I had to do it all again, I certainly wouldn't have left my cell phone in the car.  There were no means of communication in the basement, in or our.  No TV.  No phone.  Nothing.  We had no way of knowing how widespread this was, I had no idea how to call my wife and children to make sure they were okay, I had no way to do much of anything. 
            My best guess was that this fever hit a lot of people, otherwise my wife would have sent the police here to bail us out.  But who knows.
            On the plus side, we had plenty of food and water if it came to that.  The food storage and water heater were secure in the basement.  My mind had come up with plenty of long term survival ideas (for example, we could cook with an open flame on the concrete floor as long as we were careful and the windows were cracked to let out the smoke), but I wanted to get out of there as soon as I possibly could. 
            I also had a hatchet.  It was a holdover from a campout my Dad had taken us on when he was still around.  It was rusted and had spent the last two decades in a tool box next to the furnace.

The complete version is available in my collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.